I have tried turning on System Preferences -> Sharing & then connecting using TightVNC in windows, but I cannot connect.

Would prefer a free option for the mac, would prefer it even more if i could connect to the mac from windows using Microsoft's Remote Desktop, although i know this is wishful thinking.

8 Answers 8


Normal VNC clients only support a password, not a username.

To allow for that to connect to your Mac, in System Preferences » Sharing, click button "Computer Settings" and enable "VNC viewers may control screen with password [..]".

As an aside: one can also use a Java viewer. I tested the "Binary *.class and JAR files" package from TightVNC.

To use it from the command line:

  • java VncViewer HOST name_or_ip_of_your_mac

To use it from a browser: its index.html file is just an example. But even when that is fixed one cannot easily use a browser to connect to just any remote computer, as Java by default would only be allowed to connect to the host from which the applet was downloaded. But if you don't mind running both Screen Sharing and Web Sharing on the Mac that you want to access, then:

  • In Terminal, to host the applet from a new folder "vnc":

    cd /Library/WebServer/Documents/
    sudo mkdir -m 777 vnc
    curl http://www.tightvnc.com/download/1.3.10/tightvnc-1.3.10_javabin.tar.gz | tar xzv -C vnc

  • Edit vnc/index.html to add classes/ in ARCHIVE="classes/VncViewer.jar", and to change the port from 5901 to 5900. (Optionally also change the dimensions and other parameters. Setting "Open new window" to "true", and "Scaling factor" to "auto" seems nice, but note that the new window will close if the (unused) parent browser window is closed.)

  • Enable both Screen Sharing and Web Sharing through System Preferences » Sharing (and check that above-mentioned "VNC viewers may control screen with password [..]" is set).

  • Ensure ports 80 and 5900 are allowed in your firewall, and maybe even set up some port mapping in a router. Alternatively: things will be more secure when enabling SSH through Sharing » Remote Login, and use a tunnel to connect to the Mac. Like on Windows with PuTTY:

    putty.exe -ssh -L 8080:localhost:80 -L 5900:localhost:5900 user@name_or_ip_of_your_mac

  • Simply browse to something like http://name_or_ip_of_your_mac/vnc (or, when using the tunnel: http://localhost:8080/vnc)

(Tested from a Mac running 10.6 with Java 6, towards a Mac running Screen Sharing on 10.5.x, and from WinXP to 10.6.x.)


Setting "VNC viewers may control screen with password [..]" from the first answer does not solve the problem.

There is a problem with OS X Snow Leopard's VNC protocol application handshake for VNC clients that are not native to Mac OS X. ie. TightVNC for Windows. A simple Google search will reveal that this is an issue. Sorry this is not an answer/solution.

  • The following link has further info, but no solution: discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2222053&tstart=0 Jan 11, 2010 at 20:53
  • I've not searched Google, but I kind of assume the question asker (who was referring to TightVNC) tested my answer before accepting it? I myself have no issues either. I use UltraVNC viewer (apparently old, version 1.0.3. RC2 from May 2007) on WinXP, using LAN towards both Mac OS X 10.5.x and 10.6.x (both set to "VNC viewers may control screen with password [..]", but NOT "Anyone may request permission to control screen").
    – Arjan
    Jan 11, 2010 at 20:55
  • Still, +1 to get you some reputation to be allowed to comment. ;-)
    – Arjan
    Jan 11, 2010 at 20:58

you can always use TeamViewer to remote control "Mac OS X Snow Leopard from Windows".

Note: version 5 (with video chat support) is not yet available for Mac OS, you'll have to use version 4.x on a Mac.

TeamViewer is free for personal use.


I have found the solution, finally connected with TightVNC. Follow these links, but with my added notes:


When you go to edit com.apple.RemoteManagement.plist with vi, and you notice that there is content already in the file, place the code supplied BELOW/AFTER the content, on a new line.

As well when you go to try and edit com.apple.ScreenSharing.launchd wuth vi, it may be helpful to unhide the file from an ls command with this:

echo -n enabled > com.apple.ScreenSharing.launchd

FINALLY, after your system reboots, before trying to remote administer with VNC, go into the System Preferences panel, click Sharing, then go to the Remote Management item. Click the Computer Settings button, and from the drop-down, select 'VNC viewers may control screen with password:' and enter your new password. (as Arjan said above, deselect "Anyone may request permission to control screen")

Hit OK.

I suggest a reboot one more time, and then try logging in with VNC.

Works for me now!


I found TightVNC 1.3 for Windows 7 connects out of the box with Snow Leopard.

All you have to do is require a password to connect on the Mac side. In the Sharing panel in System Preferences, make sure Screen Sharing is turned on. Click on Computer Settings, then check the "VNC viewers may control screen with password" box, and enter a password.

Fire up TightVNC Viewer, enter your IP address or DNS address, and click Connect. You'll be prompted for a password (not username), and voila! (Maybe this is a result of upgrades on the TightVNC side?)


You can connect using TightVNC to Snow Leopard if you choose LAN, or in options deselect "Auto select best settings" and then highlight "Full colours".


You could also add your Mac to a free account at www.logmein.com. This would also give you remote control from outside your office/home.


I have to do just this and I am using Logmein.com free to do that. It's almost zero configuration (you install the app, connect it to a logmein account you created and maybe a reboot). You can upgrade to Logmein Pro if you also need to share files between the computers but I rarely do and use Skype or Gmail whenever I need to.

You connect to the Mac from within a browser.

  • does the Logmein display driver still screw up Aero on Vista/7 computers? i suppose you don't have to install the client (and driver) since you're connecting FROM the windows machine. :)
    – Molly7244
    Jan 13, 2010 at 20:49
  • I haven't tried (I'm on a XP box) but I think you are correct. The session happens inside the browser, although you need their plugin and Java.
    – greye
    Jan 15, 2010 at 22:12

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